Historical and Cultural Activities
The Big Island sustained a significant population in the old days. Archaeological sites of various kinds can be found all over the island, and there are remnants of the more recent past as well. The following places serve as good representatives of Hawaii's history and culture.
Lyman Museum 276 Haili St., Hilo 935-5021 www.lymanmuseum.org firstname.lastname@example.org
See some excellent exhibits of Hawaii's cultural and natural history, and visit the neighboring 1839 Lyman Missionary House. Open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 A.M.–4:30 P.M. Admission is free.
Pu‘uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park 328-2288 www.nps.gov PUNO_Interpretation@nps.org
This is the site of an old “city of refuge” where those who violated rules (kapu) could find protection. This very interesting park has a self-guided tour, including archaeological sites, a reconstructed temple and houses, and other exhibits. The site is located on the Kona coast south of Kealakekua. Open from 6 A.M.–8 P.M., Monday through Thursday, and from 6 A.M.–11 P.M. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The visitors' center is open daily from 7:30 A.M.–5:30 P.M. Admission is $5 and is good for 7 days, or you can use your National Parks Pass.
Ahu‘ena Heiau 75-5660 Palani Rd., Kailua-Kona
This temple complex was built by Kamehameha I in honor of the god Lono. The temple complex has been reconstructed and sits on the property of the King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona.
The Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park www.nps.gov
The park is located on the coast off Hwy. 19, halfway between the town of Kailua-Kona and the Kona airport. It preserves a variety of different kinds of early Hawaiian sites such as fishponds and house sites. The gate to the park is open daily from 8:30 A.M.–3:30 P.M.
Pu‘ukohala Heiau 882-7218 www.nps.gov
The massive heiau was built by Kamehameha I in 1790–1791 in honor of Kuka‘ilimoku, the god of war. This is where Kamehameha sacrificed a rival chief, thus making himself the Big Island's chief ruler and setting the stage for his conquest of the other islands. The heiau and associated historical remains are protected as a national historic site and are situated on the Kohala coast near Kawaihae. There is a visitor's center and an interpretive trail. Open daily from 7:30 A.M.–4 P.M.
Lapakahi State Historical Park
Located on the site of an old coastal fishing village, this park is an information center for traditional Hawaiian culture. The park contains a number of archaeological sites and educational exhibits. You can pick up a brochure at the entrance for a self-guided tour. It's located on the north Kohala coast off Hwy. 270, between Kawaihae and Hawi.
When most people think of Hawaii, it's not likely that trains come to mind, but the islands did have a few tracks to facilitate the transportation of sugar and other products. You can explore Hawaiian railroad history at the Laupahoehoe Train Museum. It's located at the site of an old train station. Open weekdays from 9 A.M.–4:30 P.M. and from 10 A.M.–2 P.M. on weekends.
Hulihe‘e Palace 75-5718 Ali‘i Dr., Kailua-Kona 96740 329-1877 www.huliheepalace.org email@example.com
Nestled on the edge of the sea in Kailua-Kona, the Hulihe‘e Palace was a vacation home for some of Hawaii's royalty, including King Kalakaua. Several rooms are open to visitors, including some outfitted with their splendid original furnishings, many made of the exquisite koa wood. The palace is open Monday through Saturday from 9 A.M.–4 P.M. and on Sunday from 10 A.M.–4 P.M. There is a modest admission fee.
The Moku‘aikaua Church 75-5713 Ali‘i Dr. Kailua-Kona 96740
The first church in the Hawaiian Islands, it was constructed in 1820. The present structure was completed in 1837 and is still in use. The church is located across the street from the Hulihe‘e Palace.
St. Benedict Catholic Church 84-5140 Painted Church Rd., Honaunau, HI 96726 328-2227
This building is also known as the Painted Church because of its colorfully decorated interior. Some of the old paintings of Bible scenes were used to instruct the congregants. It can be found in south Kona at Honaunau.
The Kona Historical Society 323-3222 www.konahistorical.org firstname.lastname@example.org
The headquarters of the society and their museum are housed in the old 1875 Greenwell Store. The society specializes in the history of Kona after European contact (from 1778 on). Located in Kalukalu, 16 miles south of Kailua-Kona, the museum is open from 9 A.M.–3 P.M., Monday through Friday. The society also conducts 75-minute walking tours of historical Kailua-Kona, including Hulihe‘e Palace. Cost is $15.
Pacific Tsunami Museum 130 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo 96720 935-0926 www.tsunami.org
The goal of the Pacific Tsunami Museum is to educate islanders and visitors about the phenomenon, history, and threat of tidal waves (tsunami), at least two of which have devastated Hilo and its environs in the last century (1946 and 1960). The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 9 A.M.–4 P.M. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $2 for students (ages 6–17).
Parker Ranch 67-1435 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kamuela, HI 96743 885-7655 www.parkerranch.com email@example.com
Around 175,000 acres in size, and dating back to 1847, the Parker Ranch is one of the largest and oldest cattle ranches in the United States. The ranch has a visitors' center in Kamuela/Waimea with a museum. Hours are 9 A.M.–5 P.M. Monday through Saturday. Admission is $6.50. The ranch also offers 45-minute horsedrawn wagon rides, and there are nearby historic homes and gardens to visit.